FACTORS AFFECTING THE CHOICE OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS BY PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS IN LATVIA
AbstractBecause of increasing competition among Latvian higher education institutions (HEIs), the administrators of these institutions are becoming increasingly interested in understanding how their potential students choose their institution. Comprehensive knowledge of consumer behavior allows institutions to become more effective at making good strategic marketing decisions and to better respond to customers’ needs. The purpose of this study is to understand what factors affect the decision of secondary school leavers in choosing a particular higher education provider and the variables that might predict a student’s choice. The research is based on data collected by the means of a survey distributed among final year students of Latvian secondary schools, with 644 responses analyzed using Spearman correlation and stepwise regression analysis. Analysis of four major groups of factors: cultural, social, psychological, and organizational, revealed that psychological and organizational factors are the best predictors of the choice of HEI. These explained 48% of the variance of the dependent variable (R2 = 0.48; F (1; 641) = 293.46; p < 0.001). The results provide details of the factors with great importance to young people of Latvia in choosing their higher education provider. The HEI can use these factors for designing various student attraction strategies, and thus increase their market share and competitiveness.
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